Critical Pedagogy

Introductory Terminology

Quantitative v. qualitative methods

Modernism v. postmodernism

Objectivity v. subjectivity

Empirical research, scientific method, hypothesis, theory, law

Research articles

Data (plural), artifacts

Normal distribution, bell-shaped curve

Third-person v. first-person POV

Outlier, cherry picking, and anecdote

Validity, reliability, and credibility

Ethics, morals


Critical Pedagogy

…[C]ritical perspectives reject the norms of the academy—quantitative data and objectivity most significantly. Instead, critical pedagogy starts here:

Thus, proponents of critical pedagogy understand that every dimension of schooling and every form of educational practice are politically contested spaces. Shaped by history and challenged by a wide range of interest groups, educational practice is a fuzzy concept as it takes place in numerous settings, is shaped by a plethora of often-invisible forces, and can operate even in the name of democracy and justice to be totalitarian and oppressive.

Joe Kincheloe, Critical Pedagogy Primer

The claimed apolitical pose of traditional scholarship marginalizes as the Other critical perspectives. However, Kincheloe explains:

Recognition of these educational politics suggests that teachers take a position and make it understandable to their students. They do not, however, have the right to impose these positions on their students[emphasis in original]….

In this context it is not the advocates of critical pedagogy who are most often guilty of impositional teaching but many of the mainstream critics themselves. When mainstream opponents of critical pedagogy promote the notion that all language and political behavior that oppose the dominant ideology are forms of indoctrination, they forget how experience is shaped by unequal forms of power. To refuse to name the forces that produce human suffering and exploitation is to take a position that supports oppression and powers that perpetuate it. The argument that any position opposing the actions of dominant power wielders is problematic. It is tantamount to saying that one who admits her oppositional political sentiments and makes them known to students is guilty of indoctrination, while one who hides her consent to dominant power and the status quo it has produced from her students is operating in an objective and neutral manner.

“Critical pedagogy wants to know who’s indoctrinating whom,” Kincheloe concludes (from More on Critical Pedagogy, Critical Thinking, and the Other: “Critical pedagogy wants to know who’s indoctrinating whom”).

See Also

Critical Thinking and Critical Pedagogy: Relations, Differences, and Limits, Nicholas C. Burbules and Rupert Berk

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